Over the past couple of week’s I have been taking note of the type of content that comes across our screen. Television has definitely taken a turn for the worse over the past decades. As I flipped through the stations it made me angry how Prime Time TV has abandoned shows that brought the whole family together in exchange for controversial programming and “make you dumb” reality television.
I sat through an episode of basketball wives (again, when I said I wouldn’t) and upon shaking my head at the ignorance, began to think “What would Bill Cosby say to these women?” I just seemed like they needed someone like Bill to come in on the set and give them one of his priceless lessons we all grew up appreciating on the legendary Cosby Show. Then I began to think about how Bill Cosby has been ostracized for being too hard on his own people these days and how the youth don’t even relate to Bill nor look up to him as a role model. Can you believe that day would ever come?
That led me to think, “Would shows like ‘The Cosby Show’ or ‘A Different World’ even be popular today?” When the world thirsts for ignorance, sex, and violence on TV is there any room for a good message or something positive for us to aspire to be like? Here are my three reasons why shows like ‘The Cosby Show’ would never bring in the ratings they used to.
1. TELEVISION REFLECTS THE TIMES: Back in the day, before reality tv came around, most programming was based on a combination of current times, good writers, and a great concept. This was also the time in which great producers, writers, and directors got paid for what they were worth. Today is a completely different day. Sh** gets real today! Both on and off the screen. People aren’t buying into what could be they are dealing with what’s happening today and according to television it’s basketball wives getting smacked up for being fake.
2. WHO WANTS TO SEE BLACK PEOPLE SUCCEED? Shows like the Jeffersons, Cosby Show, My Wife & Kids, & The Fresh Prince all showcased African American affluence, class, and the results of hard work. It inspired millions to expect better and to do better. Today’s celebrities consists off NeNe’s, Antoine Dodsons, and “The Bronchitis lady” who become viral sensations for doing the most ignorant ish in front of a camera. So why would a network pick up a sitcom about smart African Americans and try to build another successful legacy of Black programming? They are always one ignorant act away from breaking ratings records on the next episode of Love and Hip Hop.
3. NETWORKS HAVE FIGURED OUT THE FORMULA: It’s not just a Black thing. Low cost production shows are yielding great results due to the reality boom and viral era. Great writers around the world have had to compromise on the programming they create in order to compete with the low budget ratings killers that are birthed on MTV, VH1, & NBC. And if they are investing into original programming what type of show will get the big budgets? Now as far as African American owned networks there has yet to be an original show that has seen worldwide success like the Cosby show. But that is an entire different conversation.